I don’t know about you, but I like to know the history behind what I drink. Call me a booze dork, but knowing the story behind each drink makes it seem to taste that much better.
Chateau Tanunda is located in South Australia—about an hour outside of the town of Adelaide. It was built in the late 1880s and is home to some the oldest vines in the Barossa Valley. The Chateau is the largest and oldest wine Chateaus in Australia. The Gerber family purchased the Chateau in 1998 and continues to revitalize and restore the buildings to keep its history alive. If I ever make it Australia, this for sure will be on my bucket list of wineries to visit.
Chateau Tanunda recently sent me a bottle of their Grand Barossa Dry Riesling, and I was eager to sip, smell, and enjoy it. This fresh, crisp wine has aromas of citrus fruits such as lemon and lime. When most people (myself included) think Riseling, they think sweet, because the higher the acidity of the wine, the more sugar can be in the wine without leaving the sweet taste. If you haven’t had a riesling in a while, or have always been turned off due to the sweetness, you should try a dry riesling. You will be pleasantly surprised.
P.S., I loved reading that most of the grapes in this variety are from old vines that were planted on the estate in the 1920s!
Tasting Notes Grape Varietal: Riesling Color: White/clear Aroma: Lemon and lime Palate: Bright citrus flavors with a slight acidity ABV: 11.5%
What goes better with sunshine than a delicious rosé cocktail and a spectacular view of horses galloping in a field? I’m a little hard pressed to come up with anything else. Spending time with horses is such a wonderful thing to do, be that just sitting with them or even riding them. I have friends in Virginia who say that riding is one of the best things to do in Chincoteague. I don’t know what it is about horses, they have such a calming effect on me, I’m totally transfixed when I’m around them. That’s why I visited Black Star Sport Horses in Rockwall, Texas with a bottle of rosé in-hand!
Black Star Sport Horses is a full service training, show, and sales facility featuring an International Federation of Equestrians trainer. They offer riding lessons for all ages and skill levels, so no worries if you don’t know the tail end from the nose, they’ll help you figure it out!
The rosé I brought along is the Inspiration Rosé from Château de Berne, a 1,235 acre vineyard in Provence, France originally built by the Romans. On the CDB property is an 18th century 5-star château-style hotel, a Michelin Star restaurant, and an award-winning spa and visitor center. Oh, and they make some really fantastic wine. I’ll take a one-way ticket, please!
Château de Berne Inspiration Rosé is one of three bottles from the Provencal range of classics, only recently brought to the US. This dry rosé, with fresh strawberry, cherry, cranberry, and pomegranate notes has been awarded the 2018 Bronze by Texsom International Wine Awards and the 2018 Silver by the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of American Competition. At 12.5% alcohol, it pairs well with light cheeses and a side of fruit.
The day we made it out to Black Star, it was pretty warm, so we decided to batch out a rosé cooler to cool us off a bit more. Picnics can also get messy, so it’s best to batch any cocktails out before heading out.
SUMMER PEACH ROSÉ COOLER 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups frozen peaches
4 cups rosé (I chose Chateau de Berne’s Inspiration Rosé)
1 liter club soda
Rosemary for garnish
Over the years, I’ve had friends attempt to sell me a variety of products—leggings, skin care, oils, makeup, kitchen knick-knacks, nutritional supplements, weird nail stickers, and smelly candles. Sadly, I have never had a friend attempt to sell me anything I actually really want—or need—until I met Erin Gerner. Erin sells wine. Erin Gerner is a consultant for Celina based wine clubScout & Cellar. Erin would love to help arrange for a box of wine to appear on your doorstep on a monthly basis. Erin is also my new favorite person.
Scout & Cellar was founded by local attorney Sarah Shadonix with a very specific goal in mind: curating an amazing collection of clean-crafted wine. “What is clean-crafted wine?”, you might ask. Clean-crafted wines contain no synthetic pesticides, no added sugar, zero added chemicals, and low sulfites. They are never mass-produced, ensuring quality control. Clean-crafted wines also remove one other thing from the wine drinking experience: the dreaded wine headache. Scout & Cellar, where have you been all of my (21+) life?
The great news is, you can choose to purchase from Scout & Cellar’s Clean-crafted wine collection without any membership, simply by shopping online. However, if you want, or, ahem, *need* more wine in your life, you definitely want to consider a club membership. How does it work? When you sign up, you get to customize your experience; you decide what kind of wine you’d like to receive, and how often. Whether you want to receive all whites, all reds, or a mixture, and whether you’d prefer to receive shipments monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly, they’ve got a plan for you. Members receive additional perks as well, like product discounts, and an invitation to visit the winery, which isn’t open to the public. Erin is an amazing consultant, and she will steer you towards wines you will love that you might not have tried on your own. I can personally attest to this, as she brought me two bottles she recommended, which were right up my alley … and as promised, no headache. Swoon.
Speaking of Erin and her wine savvy: she is also available for tastings, and you could be her next host! As a Host, you arrange a Scout & Cellar wine tasting and handle the guest list; Erin handles the rest. You get to earn cool host perks, and you also earn cool points for throwing a “party” your friends actually WANT to attend. (Hint: overpriced eye serum does not a party make.) Also, Erin is sweet as pie; the consummate hostess. A fun evening is all but guaranteed!
Finally, if clean-crafted wine speaks to your soul, definitely reach out to Erin about becoming a consultant. Scout & Cellar consultants spread the good news about clean-crafted wine … all while making money in the process. They host wine parties, they explain the collections, and they manage a team of other Independent Consultants who do the same things.
Thank you Erin, for sharing your fabulous Clean-crafted wines with me!
We all know about rosé … summer water.
The ubiquitous millennial-pink chilled wine served served at brunches the world over.
Is it a mystery that rosé and cliché rhyme? I think not.
In fact, there’s a compelling argument that rosé is summer’s Pumpkin Spice Latte. I’ll have to save that argument for another day, because I’ve got some news:
Rosé season isn’t real.
I know, I know … it’s a revelation. Let it sink in for a few minutes.
Since temps in Texas hit the upper 80s and lower 90s well into October, there’s simply no reason to pack up your rosé along with your white jeans just because it’s autumn. (And for that matter, why should we even pack up our white jeans?) Luckily the awesome people are Barefoot feel the same way, and I was fortunate enough to attend their #FallForRosé event recently at Stirr in Deep Ellum.
The weather couldn’t have been better for an autumn cocktail event. The candlelit pink and gold decor complimented the crisp rosé perfectly and the Rosé Harvest Martini (Barefoot rosé, vanilla vodka, pomegranate juice and simple syrup) was a wonderfully light and crisp fall cocktail. Where the fruity flavor of rosé is usually associated with summertime, the subtle vanilla and pomegranate flavors nudged the drink into fall without relying on the use of typical fall flavors such as apple, pear and spices.
If you’re looking for a fall cocktail that’s a little different I would definitely recommend integrating rosé into the ingredients. And if cocktails aren’t your thing, you can never go wrong with a simple glass of rosé. … even in October.
Looking for a weekend getaway without the hassle of long distance travel? Hop in the car, head down 35, and make a visit to Fredericksburg, Texas for wine tasting rooms, vineyards, breweries, sightseeing, and even a distillery. I’ve rounded up my favorite things from my last visit for anyone planning a getaway to the area affectionately known as Fritztown.
A few quick tips:
Fredericksburg is the only city in Texas with an open carry policy … BOOM. Carry around your beer or wine (no liquor) on the street!
You can find many hotels, bed and breakfasts, and even ranches in the area for housing. Some vineyards may even have their own lodging available.
Take sunscreen … you’re going to be outside.
It’s just more than 4 hours down to the Hill Country from the Dallas area. (Just head to Austin and take a right!) And you’ll want to have a car to get out to some of the further out vineyards and locations.
Do your research before heading that way. There’s a lot to do and you don’t want to spend your whole trip deciding what to do next! (VisitFredericksburg.com is a great resource.)
Pontotoc Vineyard Weingarten is located on Main Street in downtown Fredericksburg. They have a small tasting room, but even better is there patio with several tables to enjoy the great hill country weather. Six of us stopped by after a late breakfast and enjoyed a few bottles of wine. I personally did a tasting here before switching over to one of the bottles we bought for the table. If you’re looking for a drink to cool you down on a hot summer day, I highly recommend the sangria. (I bought a bottle to bring home with me.)
Grape Creek has two options in town–a tasting room on Main Street in downtown and they have a vineyard just outside of town on Highway 290. (They have a third location in Georgetown as well.) We stopped by the tasting room one evening in town before heading to dinner and tried a few wines. I liked everything I tried, but settled on a white wine to sip on while we relaxed. Out of all the places I visited, Grape Creek was my favorite; I truly liked every wine I tasted.
Compass Rose Cellars, located in Hye, is a must-visit. Stop by Compass Rose to enjoy a glass of wine while relaxing on a patio with a picturesque view of the surrounding hills, enjoy a tasting of some great wines with some great food, or grab light lunch from a truly great chef. Compass Rose has it all. We went through a full wine tasting led by the owner, and the chef has some incredible food pairings that really transform the taste of the wines.
Make sure you make an appointment if you plan to do a tasting as they really value customer service and don’t want to do what they call a “drive by tasting”. Compass Rose prefers to spend time with you during the tasting to really elaborate on the wines you’re enjoying. If you want to continue enjoying their hospitality, this little gem also has “casitas” if you want to stay the night.
William Chris Vineyard (also in Hye) is another great stop. To use the phrase coined by Compass Rose, this was more of a “drive by tasting”, but the wines were enjoyable and the vineyard had a great outdoor area. The tasting room was a little busy, but if you have an appointment they have a space dedicated for you at the tasting bar. We ordered a cheese plate here and had a glass of wine on the patio while listening to live music they provided outside. They have events and concerts on location regularly, so check out their events calendar to see what’s coming up before visiting.
If you are a bourbon drinker, plan a stop to Garrison Brothers. If you have no interest in bourbon or the distillation process, skip this stop. (But then … why would you be reading a blog about drinking?) Their distillery tour is very informative and you get to see the entire process from grains to bottling. The tour does take a nice bit of time. During the tour they hand out a taste of the “white dog”, the product straight out of the still before it is aged in oak barrels. They also let you taste the bourbon at the very end of the tour … the final product, that is! (Reservations are required for Saturday tours.)
Garrison Brothers Distillery garrisonbros.com, 830.392.0246 1827 Hye Albert Road (Hye)
For the beer-inclined of you, carve out some time to carve your initials into one of the community-style picnic tables in the Fredericksburg Brewing Company tasting room. (Bonus points if you find Susie’s #SusieDrinksFredericksburg tag!) They brew their beers on-site and offer a range of brews, so try them all while enjoying food from their restaurant and see which is your favorite. They have a “Bed & Brew” for you to crash in … in case you’ve had one too many.
Fredericksburg Brewing Company yourbrewery.com, 830.997.1646 245 E. Main St.
I’m going to give a shout out to the two companies that were involved on booking/driving my fiancé and I around on our tour. We reached out to Fredericksburg Uncorked based on a recommendation from a friend and asked for something relaxed where we weren’t rushed from stop to stop with no real time to sit and relax. We had some great conversation with our driver, Brandon, and it came out that he actually owned a different tour company, Moons Vineyard Voyages. (These companies all have a few they like to work with, and since Fredericksburg Uncorked was booked for the day, we were sent with Brandon.) He was a great driver and resource for us and we enjoyed getting to know him. He was an awesome host and was first class all the way. If you are looking for a tour/driver for your Fredericksburg outing, I highly recommend either of the above companies/contacts. They provided us with the perfect day.
A few weeks ago I attended Mercy Wine Bar’sPassport to Rioja tasting series, featuring wines from the Rioja wine region. The event allowed us to taste a full spectrum of Rioja offerings, including centenary wines, classic modern styles and collector’s wines.
A little background on Rioja Wines: Rioja is a wine region in Spain that is famous for it’s Tempranillo wines. Tempranillo is an Old World wine that pairs well with food. (Obvious,but for real. I was craving a steak dinner after the event!) In terms of flavor, Rioja wines vary from more fruit-forward to silky, smooth with a bit of spice. To learn more about Rioja Wines, check out RiojaWine.com.
About the Event: There was no twisting my arm needed to get my RSVP. So on August 19th, I happily dashed up the Tollway to their Addison location.
Every table at the tasting featured several wines from different winemakers in the Rioja region. The event was thankfully relaxed and intimate, so I was able to learn about each wine I tasted. There were several wine retailers and restaurateurs in attendance (which made me feel prettyyyy fancy) who all seemed to be intrigued and impressed by the wines represented — which even further reassured me that I was about to be blown away.
The Wines: For your sake, I won’t go into every wine I tasted in this review. In short: I felt spoiled to be able to try the best of the well-known and typical varietals from Rioja, as well as explore some blends and whites that I didn’t even know existed.
The Reds: I was able to try some vintage and reserve wines from Faustino, including one from 1964! I also fell in love with Palacios Remondo’s La Montesa which uses organically-grown grapes making a light and delicious tasting blend of Mazuelo Tempranillo and Garnacha; a perfect red to sip out on a patio in the summer. As the gentleman at the tasting table put it, “It has a great slam ability factor.” (Yes, he said that.)
For White Wine lovers: The biggest and most pleasant surprise of the event for me was how much I loved the white Rioja wines, made from Viura (or Macebo) which is a Spanish white grape variety … and a severely underrated one at that! They tasted full-bodied and substantial light and refreshing; somewhat like a Sauvignon Blanc but less sour and less fruity. I especially enjoyed the white from Milflores (the bottle is gorgeous too).
Food: Thankfully, with all that wine tasting (I couldn’t get the hang of the spittoon), they passed around several delicious hors d’oeuvres such as Risotto Balls and Smoked Bruschetta (which is Smoked buffalo mozzarella, garlic olive oil, marinated tomatoes, and balsamic reduction).
Mercy Wine Bar’sPassport to Rioja tasting series was a truly unique experience that forced me out my Pinot Noir and Savignon Blanc comfort zone to learn and taste the best of the best wines from a historically rich and renowned region in Spain. I’ll be back soon, Mercy Wine Bar, to try a glass (or two) of something new and unexpected!
TIP: Mercy also will sell their wines to you at retail price. So be sure to grab a glass of Rioja wine at Mercy Wine Bar next time you are up in Addison and then take a bottle home with you!
MERCY WINE BAR
5100 Belt Line Rd #544, Dallas, TX 75254
(Located in the Village on the Parkway, at the southeast corner of Beltline and the Dallas North Tollway, between Sebastian’s Closet and Blue Mesa.)
(972) 702-9463 mercywinebar.com | Facebook | Twitter
Hours of Operation:
M-W: 11:00 am – 12:00 am
Th-F: 11:00 am – 2:00 am
Sat: 4:00 pm – 2:00 am
Sun: 4:00 pm – 12:00 am
HAPPY HOUR SPECIAL | 4pm – 7pm daily
$5 wines by the glass (choice of 11 different wines)
About Mercy Wine Bar:
To be honest there is a lot of big chain restaurants and bars up in Addison, so Mercy Wine bar is a perfect antidote, with its small, cozy setting and unique wine and food selections. This award-winning Dallas staple is a great place to go grab a glass of wine before or after an event up there.
Truth be told, I find wine to be a bit intimidating. I can’t do what sommeliers do. I’m a beer guy. I have no idea how to really even “taste” wine as a professional would, seeking out hints of boysenberry (what does boysenberry even taste like???) or a lingering aftertaste of leather or graphite (whaaa?). I couldn’t tell you if a wine should be older or drunk the same year it’s made, and I have no idea of the “terroirs” associated with different wines. (Wait … since when are dog breeds involved in wine-making???) Nevertheless, the staff at Astoria Caffe & Wine Bar in Addison Circle makes me feel like a pro and helps me get to just the right glass (or three) of vino.
I recently had the chance to visit this corner bar with the wife for a light dinner of wine and cheese (which is totally acceptable). This wine bar is family-owned, completely unpretentious, and boasts a diverse selection of wines and a small, well thought-out menu. It’s the kind of place where you can see yourself being a regular. For those who aren’t big wine drinkers, don’t fret, Astoria stocks a selection of domestic and imported beers, too.
For the casual wine drinker who doesn’t want to an entire bottle (or the indecisive), there are plenty of choices available by the glass. I thought that the prices for both glasses and bottles of wine were quite reasonable. If you’re looking for something in particular or just need help with a recommendation, the staff is eager to help and knowledgeable about the bar’s offerings.
Astoria is intimate and cozy, allowing one to quickly feel right at home. The interior has a dozen or so small tables as well as a dog-friendly front patio surrounded by lush trees. This wine bar attracts an eclectic mix of patrons that range from the mature wine snob to young couples to hipsters. Those looking for a great first date spot in Addison or those simply looking to unwind with a glass of good wine in a relaxed atmosphere can look no further.
Whether you’re an experienced wine buff or an amateur like me, there’s a lot to appreciate at Astoria Caffe!
So … I’m all about unconventional outings–for dates, girls’ nights, and Tuesdays. Sometimes it’s nice to get out of dodge and head to the ‘burbs, and Grapevine Wine Tours offer a fun evening away from the Big D that highlights Grapevine’s wine options.
I was lucky to join a group of media people on a wine tour on a Wednesday evening. The group met around 5:30pm and piled into one of their small, air conditioned busses to visit three wine-centric stops in Grapevine led by a GWT representative who fed us fun facts about the city of Grapevine and its wine offerings. (Fun fact: Texas is the 4th largest wine producing state!) Each tour will visit three of the seven partners in Grapevine, some vineyards, some tasting rooms, and some restaurants. The tour lasts around 4.5 hours and always includes a meal.
Our group’s itinerary was:
Homestead Winery – this cute, little home close to Downtown Grapevine produces wine from vines grown in Ivanhoe, Texas. The owner of the winery walked us through a tasting of their wines (15+ — yikes). They have some wines that are incredibly unique and were happy to talk us through the flavors and nuances of the wines we were tasting.
Delaney Vineyard – this vineyard is the only local vineyard and boasts 10 acres of vines, a winery, and gorgeous tasting room onsite. We were treated to a tour of the entire site and a tasting of their offerings. (I left with a bottle of wine from their gift shop … because I have a shopping problem.)
Winewood Grill – we enjoyed a three-course meal at Winewood, complete with suggested wine pairings. I opted for the BBQ ribs, and it was a solid choice. They had live music in the bar, which was a nice bonus.
GWTs will coordinate with your party to determine an appropriate itinerary and pick-up location (at one of three Grapevine hotels, Embassy Suites Outdoor World, Hilton DFW Lakes, or the Gaylord Texan). Each tour is customized based on your group’s size and preferences.
Call 817.259.WINE (9463) or visit www.GrapevineWineTours.com for tour prices, schedules, group rates and other details. Tours typically cost $79.50-89.50. You can save 10% discount on a lunch or dinner tour using the code BLOG10 (offer expires 9/1/14).
****I was invited to experience a Grapevine Wine Tour free of charge.****